|Doctor Who character|
Turlough in a promotional photograph for Doctor Who.
|First appearance||Mawdryn Undead|
|Last appearance||Planet of Fire
The Caves of Androzani (cameo)
|Portrayed by||Mark Strickson|
Vislor Turlough is a fictional character played by Mark Strickson in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He was a companion of the Fifth Doctor, being a regular in the programme from 1983 to 1984. Turlough appeared in 10 stories (33 episodes).
When Turlough first appears in the serial Mawdryn Undead, he is a student of retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (himself a former companion of the Doctor) at the Brendon Public School, but it becomes apparent that he is not what he seems. He is contacted by the malevolent Black Guardian, who offers to take him home if he kills the Doctor. He also appears familiar with concepts of time travel and matter transmission. At the end of the serial, Turlough asks to accompany the Doctor. Despite Tegan and Nyssa‘s suspicions, the Doctor accepts Turlough as part of the TARDIS crew.
During the course of the next two serials, Terminus and Enlightenment (collectively known, together with Mawdryn Undead, as the Black Guardian Trilogy), Turlough finds himself unable to decide whether or not to carry out his assignment from the Black Guardian, but eventually rejects him in favour of loyalty to the Doctor. Although always slightly cowardly, with excellent instincts of self-preservation and a streak of ruthlessness, his relationship with the Doctor and Tegan improves with time (Nyssa having departed at the end of Terminus). He is one of the few companions capable of operating many of the TARDIS’s systems, being able to run a diagnostic in The Five Doctors and program the TARDIS to retrieve the Doctor in Planet of Fire. Initially expressing a desire to return home, he continues travelling with the Doctor and Tegan until Tegan leaves at the end of Resurrection of the Daleks.
In the very next serial, Planet of Fire, it is revealed that Turlough is a junior ensign commander from the planet Trion. Following a civil war on his home planet, in which his mother was killed, Turlough’s family were branded political prisoners. His father and younger brother Malkon were exiled to the planet Sarn whilst Turlough himself become a political exile to Earth watched over by an eccentric Trion agent disguised as a solicitor in Chancery Lane. Also revealed for the first time in this serial is Turlough’s first name, Vislor. At the end of the serial, Turlough discovers that political prisoners are no longer mistreated on Trion and decides it is time to return home.
Strickson has humorously commented that, not knowing what to do with him, the writers of the television series would often have the villains capture or lock him up, leading to Turlough ending up in various “states of bondage”.
List of appearances
- Season 20
- 20th anniversary special
- Season 21
- Warriors of the Deep
- The Awakening
- Resurrection of the Daleks
- Planet of Fire
- The Caves of Androzani (cameo in episode 4)
- The Light at the End
- The Whispering Forest
- The Cradle of the Snake
- Heroes of Sontar
- Kiss of Death
- Rat Trap
- The Emerald Tiger
- The Jupiter Conjunction
- The Butcher of Brisbane
- Eldrad Must Die!
- The Lady of Mercia
- Prisoners of Fate
- Make Your Own Adventure
- Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma by Tony Attwood
- “Birth of a Renegade” by Eric Saward (Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special)
- “Zeitgeist” by Craig Hinton (Decalog 3: Consequences)
- “Qualia” by Stephen Fewell (Short Trips: Companions)
- “Rome” by (Short Trips: The History of Christmas)
- “Comforts of Home” by (Short Trips: The History of Christmas)
- “One Wednesday Afternoon” by (Short Trips: A Day in the Life)
- “The Assassin’s Story” by Andrew Collins (Short Trips: Repercussions)
- “Observation” by (Short Trips: Life Science)
- “Lant Land” by Jonathan Morris (Short Trips: Life Science)
- “White Man’s Burden” by (Short Trips: Past Tense)
- “Last Minute Shopping” by (Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury)
- “The Misadventure of Mark Thorne” by (Short Trips: Snapshots)
- “Piecemeal” by James Swallow (Short Trips: Snapshots)
- “Do You Believe in the Krampus?” by (Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas)
- “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” by Chris Thomas (Short Trips: Defining Patterns)
- “Gudok” by Mags L Halliday (Short Trips: Transmissions)
- “The Darkest Corner” by (Shelf Life)
- “Fair Exchange” by Mike Morgan (Shelf Life)
- Vislor Turlough on Tardis Data Core, an external wiki
- Vislor Turlough on the BBC’s Doctor Who website
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